Hospital visits will be banned across Northern Ireland as authorities prepare to face a wave of coronavirus cases.
Hief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said he believed thousands of people here have already been infected with the virus, which has so far caused seven victims.
The test will increase to more than 1,000 a day within the next week and this will help give a better idea of the spread of the infection, added Dr. Michael McBride.
About 40,000 of the most vulnerable must be written by their family doctors, urging them to be very careful and stay home.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a support package for self-employed workers on Thursday.
It comes after the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have warned businesses in the construction and manufacturing sectors that “we will shut you down” if they do not comply with guidelines on social removal.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Stormont, Arlene Foster said that she and Michelle O’Neill have been contacted directly by families who are concerned about the health of their loved ones who need to go to work.
He appealed directly to those companies to observe new indications on social distancing.
Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill said she continues to see men traveling together to work in vans, something she called “unacceptable”.
“If it is not possible to predict safe working practices, one should not operate. It is adding to the colossal burden on our health services,” he said.
“If you don’t act alone, we’ll go in and shut you down.”
The Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that seven people died from the coronavirus epidemic in Northern Ireland.
In its regular daily update, officials said there were 37 new cases that brought the total to 209 of those that were tested on Wednesday 25 March.
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